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18th Century

In the early 1770's, relations between the American colonies and British Parliament were rapidly deteriorating, particularly over taxes. In October 1774, the towns of the Massachusetts Province decided to pay taxes to a Provincial tax collector rather than to the Royal Tax Collector (similar to putting money in escrow during a strike). Henry Gardner, Stow's representative to each of the Massachusetts Provincial Congresses, was elected Collector General for this.

The Provincial Congress also requested that 1/3 to 1/2 of each town's militia be set aside to be ready "at a minute's notice" for any emergency. The Town of Stow turned most or all of its Militia into Minute Companies.

On the night of April 18, 1775, General Gage sent out a force of troops to seize military stores in Concord, some of which had already been moved to Stow and other towns for safety. They also had in mind to arrest leaders of the growing opposition to the crown. Forewarned by a local doctor, Samuel Prescott, Stow dispatched at least one company to Concord during the day, perhaps leaving some behind to guard the munitions from Concord.

What Stow's militia and minutemen did on April 19th is not certain. It is believed that Stow militia engaged the British line retreating not far from Meriam's Corner, where local tradition is that Daniel Conant of Stow was wounded. Records indicate that men from Stow were along the historic battle road, harassing the retreating soldiers as far as Cambridge.